The ACT’s solar feed in tariff program for households has been given new life – but it appears it may be at the expense of medium scale solar power in the Territory.
The Micro Generator component of the ACT Feed-In Tariff Scheme was closed to new connections by Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell at the beginning of June; with new connections from that point to receive a rate equivalent to supply.
However, the ACT Greens and Canberra Liberals last week pushed through a Bill to allow new connections of small scale home solar power systems to receive the same rate as the Medium Generator category – 34.27 c per kilowatt hour for all electricity generated.
“The very sudden halt of the small scale solar Feed-in Tariff left an industry in the lurch just as it was beginning to flourish,” according Green spokesperson and sponsor of the Bill, Shane Rattenbury.
“It’s unfortunate that this Bill was required, but the reality is that without it the ACT solar industry would be facing real trouble and would start to let staff go over the next 2 months.”
“The Greens Bill passing represents a win for a local industry, a better price for rate payers and a win for the environment,” Mr Rattenbury said.
While it’s good news for the ACT home solar power sector, the changes may be a double-edged sword in relation to parties planning to participate in the ACT’s medium scale scheme; designated for solar panel arrays with a capacity of between 30kW and 200kW.
The medium generator category has a cap of 15 megawatts and it’s understood new home solar power connections signing up for the amended feed in tariff will count towards that cap; meaning that those considering commercial solar installations may need to accelerate their plans or risk missing out.
“This is a real tragedy for larger-scale renewable energy generation in Canberra,” commented Minister Corbell.
Currency Image: BigStock